What is angiogenesis?


Quick Answer

Angiogenesis is the growth of capillary blood vessels. When the body produces either too many or too few blood vessels, other serious or deadly illnesses may develop, such as stroke, cancer and age-related blindness, according to The Angiogenesis Foundation.

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Full Answer

Blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the body. Endothelial cells of the blood vessels signal when blood vessel production is necessary. Abnormal capillary blood vessel production poses a threat to a person's health by causing an imbalance in the growth factor signaling and the endothelial cells of the blood vessels. However, this imbalance is treatable, either by stimulating or inhibiting blood cell growth, and remedying this abnormality treats a wide variety of serious diseases.

Antiangionic therapy limits the production of blood vessels. When treating various forms of cancer, such as breast cancer, colon cancer and thyroid cancer, antiangionic therapy keeps the tumor away from its blood supply by inhibiting the production of blood vessels.

Therapeutic angiogenesis, however, prompts the production of blood vessels. Supplying more blood vessels helps wounds heal, and it also helps avoid amputating damaged body parts with chronic wounds or poor circulation. Therapeutic angiogenesis also helps revive tissues and nerves that otherwise would be permanently damaged or lost.

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